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“This is pretty sweet.” – Missouri quarterback James Franklin, after the Tigers defeated Texas A&M to win the SEC East title and advance to Saturday’s SEC Championship Game

INSIDE

M-I-Z-Z-O-U, y’all

~ See ‘Claib’s Call page B4 ~ B3

DECEMBER 5 – 11 , 2 0 1 3

IN THE CLUTCH With Ishmael H. Sistrunk

See story video at www.stlamerican.com

Brawl in Brooklyn Alexander and Bika defend belts on Showtime Championship Boxing

Devon defends title

Photo by Wiley Price

St. Louisan Devon Alexander will defend his International Boxing Federation Welterweight title against undefeated Shawn Porter on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Welterweight champ to face undefeated Shawn Porter on Saturday in Brooklyn

By Earl Austin Jr. Of The St. Louis American St. Louisan Devon Alexander will defend his International Boxing Federation Welterweight title against undefeated Shawn Porter on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. The 12-round championship bout will be featured live on Showtime’s Championship Boxing, beginning at 8 p.m. Central time. It will be a co-feature along with another welterweight bout pitting Zab Judah against Paul Malignaggi in a battle of Brooklyn natives. Alexander (25-1, 14 knockouts) will be

n The 12-round championship bout will be featured live on Showtime’s Championship Boxing, beginning at 8 p.m. Central time.

making his second title defense. He defeated Lee Purdy on May 18 in Atlantic City in his first defense. Alexander won the championship in Brooklyn on Oct. 20, 2012 when he defeated veteran Randall Bailey. Porter comes into Saturday’s fight with a

PREP BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK With Earl Austin Jr.

Players to watch Prep hoops season underway The 2013-14 prep basketball season is already underway. Here are some of the players to watch as we embark on a new season on basketball in the St. Louis area.

Earl Austin Jr.

Darius Austin (Cahokia): Senior 6’6” swing who has signed with UMKC.

Jordan Barnett (CBC): Athletic 6’7” forward who has signed with Texas. Evan Booker (Kirkwood): Versatile 6’6” 220-pounder who has signed

with Maryville. Sean Clancey (Cardinal Ritter): Strong 6’3” swingman with a dangerous midrange game. Arlando Cook (Madison Prep): Strong 6’8” senior who will lead Bears’ bid for another state title. Armon Fletcher (Edwardsville): Senior 6’6” forward who has signed with Southern Illinois. Donovan Franklin (O’Fallon): Junior 6’6” forward who led Panthers to regional title as a sophomore. Gerard Fuller (Normandy): Strong 6’0”

guard who returns to lead Class 4 state runners-up. Austin Gillmann (Oakville): Senior 6’11” center who has signed with Saint Louis University.

record of 22-0-1 with 14 knockouts. He is trained by his father, Kenny Porter. Alexander and Porter actually fought once before as amateurs, with Alexander winning that fight. Alexander’s manager and trainer Kevin Cunningham foresees a similar outcome as Devon continues to make his way at 147 pounds. “Shawn Porter is a good, tough, young, strong fighter,” he said. “But Shawn Porter is going to find out that’s he’s way out of his league. And that they bit off more than they could chew. That’s going to be crystal clear on Dec. 7.”

As IBF Welterweight Champion Devon Alexander “The Great” (25-1, 14KO) puts on the finishing touches of preparation for his bout, his trainer Kevin Cunningham looks on with a watchful eye. The stereo blares bass-heavy music from Rick Ross, and the gym is filled with the pitter-patter of punching bags. Yet Alexander’s focus and determination might lead you to believe he and his trainer are alone in a quiet, empty gym. Beaded perspiration clings tightly to Alexander’s brow Ishmael H. until a flurry of punches to Sistrunk his trainer’s mitts sends them flying. With each punch, the champ releases a familiar grunt. The speed, quickness and precision are all present and in championship form. Still, the champ seems a bit on edge. He’s more than ready to put training camp to bed and get into the ring and hit somebody. That opponent, n “His skills are Shawn Porter of limited, and you Akron, Ohio, isn’t can’t beat me the man Alexander and most fans with limited expected to see skills.” standing across the ring in his next – Devon bout. His next Alexander opponent was supposed to be a British import. Both Kell Brook and Amir Khan danced with Alexander at the negotiating table, but neither showed up to the prom. The Brook bout fell through due to a series of pre-fight injuries. The Khan bout? The self-proclaimed “King” and his court management team decided to bypass Alexander in hopes of landing a lucrative bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. “We were ready. We were in camp,” Alexander told The American regarding the See CLUTCH, B4

CBC’s Jordan Barnett and Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum return as two of the top players in the St. Louis metro area. Barnett has signed with Texas while Tatum is ranked as one of the nation’s top players.

Chaz Glotta (Fort Zumwalt North): The area’s leading scorer in 2013. Signed with Southern Illinois. Jordan Goodwin (Althoff): Talented 6’2” freshman who is already making an impact this season. Brandon Hollins (Jennings): Talented 6’5” wing player who averaged 18 points as a junior. See PREP, B 5 Page designed by Mike Terhaar


B4

S T. LOUIS AMERICAN • DECEMBER 5 – 11 , 2 0 1 3

CLAIB’S CALL

M-I-Z-Z-O-U, y’all Not long ago I wrote that I thought Missouri would be improved from last season and that they would have more than a solid year. You know, the usual 8- or 9-win season, a pat-on-the-head bowl game and all would be good in Columbia. Never did I imagine it would come down to this weekend with the Tigers in the SEC championship game. Then again, why not? Gary Pinkel told me that if he could keep his offensive line healthy the Tigers would be really good. He knew what he Mike was talking Claiborne about, as the other components were there in a big, physical group of receivers, a quick running game and a veteran quarterback (with another good QB in Matty Mauck waiting in the wings). The key for this team has also been the defense that has shown up every Saturday, forced a turnover and carried out the game plan. Good things happen to teams that do that. I have no idea what to expect on Saturday when the Tigers play Auburn. After all, Alabama was scheduled to provide the opposition. Auburn,

like Missouri, deserves to be there, though many in the nation have yet to take Mizzou seriously. The excuses keep coming in like those on election night in November, and yet most of their games, even on the road, have not been close. You can wager something valuable that if the Tigers beat Auburn, someone will stand up and say they are still not deserving to play for the national championship. Let me get this straight. You play in the best conference in the country, you beat the team that beat the reigning national champions and some joker will tell you Ohio State, if they go undefeated, should be deserving to play in the championship game? Sorry, Buckeye fans, not this year. I hope Missouri does not give their best impression of Notre Dame in this year’s championship game and bow to a blowout shortly after the national anthem. Avoid the embarrassment on the national stage, at all costs.

CLUTCH Continued from B3 now-defunct matchup against Amir Khan. “There are a lot of rumors around where he might be fighting Floyd and [Khan] said ‘forget it’ I’m too much of a risk.” So instead, Alexander will face Porter on Showtime

NFL: flat-out bad

off-field antics are even more scary. Thank goodness for the college game. Maybe they are not as physically polished, but it is a more entertaining game these days that offers more emotion. Bark and bite

University of Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel

Is the pro level of football this year a bit watered down? Running games are non-existent due to everyone being pass-happy. I guess if I were coaching and saw how poorly

teams tackle and cover these days, I would throw as soon as we got off the bus. The NFL is no longer a game that is the best of the best. It is a sport that is living on reputation and nothing else. It is living off the names of

yesteryear as we try and sift through the Romos, Cutlers, and RGIIIs, bad running games and worse coaches. Everyone has an excuse on why they are just flat-out bad. More excuses than results these days. That’s just on the field. The

Championship Boxing in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Though he may not be a household name, Porter is certainly no slouch. The young, undefeated fighter is 22-0-1 (14 KO) and is ready for his first world title shot. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to win this fight,” Porter told the media on a recent conference call. “If that’s making him quit, if that’s

making him sit down and not get up, if that’s knocking him down and him not getting up, if that’s taking this fight 12 rounds and winning the decision, I’m prepared.” Porter may not be prepared for the bright lights and the jump in competition level that the champion represents. Porter’s only world-class opponent to date was Julio “Kidd” Diaz, whom he defeated via

decision in September and dueled to a draw in December 2012. On the other hand, Alexander’s recent resume is like a Who’s Who of the 140 lb. and 147 lb. divisions with victories over Marcos Maidana, Randall Bailey, Lucas Matthysse and Junior Witter. His sole loss was to the undefeated Timothy Bradley Jr., whose name is etched on everybody’s pound-for-pound

On the subject of emotion, the bark does not match up to the bite with these St. Louis Rams. A lot of huffing and puffing takes place each week with inconsistent results. The 49er game last week was classic, as they wanted to put on a pre-game show of jawing then failed to back it up when the whistle blew. A common practice these days, followed by dumb penalties, dropped passes (six on Sunday) and poor pass coverage and tackling. Lack of discipline and selfishness normally do the Rams in these days when they lose. Perhaps some time on the sidelines or in street clothes on a Sunday would send a message. It is time for this young team to grow up and grow up quickly. Winter shopping You knew after the Cardinals’ offense collapsed in the World Series, things would

list. Alexander intends to add his name to that vaunted list in the near future, but knows he must first dispatch the nemesis he’s known since childhood. Alexander and Porter squared off as nine-year-old amateurs long ago at a state fair boxing tournament. That state fair is a far cry from the bright lights of the Barclays Center. While plenty of time has passed, the results of yesteryear’s fight may have given the normally reserved champion a boost of confidence going into the bout. “I beat him,” Alexander said. “Nothing is going to change December 7th. His skills are limited, and you can’t beat me with limited skills.” Bika packs punch on undercard Also on the card is Cunningham’s other worldchampion charge, Sakio Bika. The 34-year-old Bika is a Cameroon-born Australian national who has traveled all around the world throughout his boxing career, but now trains in St. Louis under Cunningham’s tutelage. Bika doesn’t have the style typically associated with Cunninghamtrained fighters. He’s not as fast as Alexander or as slick as former undisputed champion Cory Spinks, but Bika can crack and loves to come forward in the ring. In the gym, it’s impossible to ignore the dense, thudding punches Bika lands with every shot. The gym walls rattle and the heavy bag whimpers at the focused assault by the determined

change in St. Louis. General Manager John Mozeliak wasted little time as he went out and got a centerfielder in Peter Borjous and a shortstop in Jhonny Peralta. The Cardinals did not have to give up any of its prizes when it came to pitching to make these moves, which is remarkable. It also means that competition for spots after Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha will be quite heated. The other challenge at the upcoming winter meetings will be shopping for bench components. St. Louis was dreadful in that area most of the season. It almost did them in late in the year. Finding guys who will not cost a lot and still have skills is not as easy as one may think. Playing time could be limited and you still have to stay sharp when called upon, and it does not hurt to be a character guy as well as play multiple positions. If the season started tomorrow, the Cardinals would be favored to win the division, if not the league, as none of the other teams have done much so far to improve themselves. There is time, but I am not sure if there are enough quality players to go around. St. Louis will needs to find their people soon and let everyone else scramble for scraps.

champion. The former “Contender” champion now holds a legitimate strap as the WBC super-middleweight champion, which he won via majority decision in his last bout versus undefeated Marco Antonio Periban. He will defend that belt Saturday versus Anthony Dirrell (26-0, 22 KO). Versus Dirrell, Bika finds himself matched up with a similar power-punching opponent in a bout sure to be a fan-friendly affair. Dirrell is a fighter who was groomed to be a champion, but like Porter, has yet to prove his mettle against toplevel competition. Bika is confident he can handle whatever Dirrell brings. “I’ve been in there with the best fighters in the world,” Bika said. “I’ve fought Joe Calzage, I fought [Lucean] Bute, I fought Andre Ward. He’s never been 12 rounds. He’s coming to take my belt. It’ll never happen.” Tune in to Showtime Championship Boxing, Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. to view all the fights, headlined by Zab Judah vs Paulie Malignaggi and featuring Alexander vs Porter, Bika vs Dirrell and Erislandy Lara vs Austin Trout. Follow Ishmael and In the Clutch on Twitter @IshmaelSistrunk and on Google+. Tune in to his weekly boxing show In the Clench and fight-related videos at www.youtube.com/stlameri-


B5

S T. LOUIS AMERICAN • DECEMBER 5 – 11 , 2 0 1 3

RAMS ROUNDUP With Palmer L. Alexander III

The other Rams So the St. Louis Rams’ other perthird and long conversions and ended sonality showed up in the 23-13 loss up spending a lot of time on the to the San Francisco 49ers last football field. Sunday. The Rams secondary is up and You know who and what I’m down. Trumaine Johnson let 49ers referring to. The other personality of wideout Michael Crabtree get past the St. Louis Rams that plays undishim for a 60 yard gain. But I think ciplined football. The Rams got Johnson is coming along well and is flagged for 11 penalties for going to be a solid player for 105 yards. Then, you have years to come. the dropped passes that killed Janoris Jenkins hasn’t made drives. And no, I was not suras many big plays this year as prised that tight end Jared he did his rookie season. He Cook dropped two passes. got hurdled by Vernon Davis What’s going on with as he put the icing on the cake Chris Givens? I’m really surfor a 49ers victory. It’s hard to prised with him having a case imagine him not leading the of the drops. One thing for leagues in interceptions. Why? Palmer L. sure, I bet that ink pen used That Rams pass rush is the Alexander real deal. to sign those generous contracts was not dropped. The Rams sacked Colin This shouldn’t be happenKaepernick four times, hit him ing. There is no excuse for it. The hard and blitzed the dual-threat quarcalendar is now on the month on terback. Rookie Alec Ogletree led the December, and this is the seventh team in tackles and forced a fumble loss of the season. The Rams should on Frank Gore with the 49ers knockbe 8-4. ing on the doorstep for a score. Nevertheless, in this game against The front four allows the Rams to the 49ers, the Rams got behind and rush four and drop seven in coverage. were forced to throw the football. It shows the faith that Jeff Fisher has And Kellen Clemens threw the ball a in them to get to the quarterback. lot. Where the ball landed, nobody However, the drawback is if there is knows. no pressure on the opposing quarterHe got great protection from a back, you leave yourself vulnerable makeshift offensive line. But, the to giving up a crucial third down or great touch he showed off against the touchdown. Indianapolis Colts eluded him like a I like the fake punt idea. I would politician running from Elliot Davis rather see it on fourth down and 1 on Fox 2. In his defense, the Rams instead of fourth and eight. It probadropped a total of six passes. Again, bly wouldn’t have mattered anyway. you have to do better than that. This The Rams hit them up for two game was still one to be won. trick plays last year. They were ready The Rams still ran the ball well, for anything the Rams may have gaining a respectable 4.4 yards per tried. As Al Sharpton says on his show, “Nice try, but I got ya!” carry. It didn’t really look impressive, So which Rams personality will and the 49ers weren’t budging at all at the line of scrimmage. we see this weekend? Your guess is as good as mine. The defense gave up a couple of

PREP

senior guard who has signed with Austin Peay.

Continued from B3

Shawn Roundtree (Edwardsville): Excellent senior point guard who guided Tigers to third-place finish in state tournament.

Cornell Johnston (Ladue): The 5’7” senior is one of the top point guards in the state of Missouri. Rashad Lindsey (McCluer North): Senior guard who led Stars to the Class 5 state quarterfinals. Darreon Reddick (Belleville East): Strong 6’3” guard who returns for his senior year. C.J. Rivers (Cahokia): Talented 6’3” senior point guard who has signed with Drake. Josh Robinson (St. Mary ’s): High-scoring 6’3”

Ronnie Suggs (Washington): Smooth 6’6” senior guard who has committed to Mizzou. Jayson Tatum (Chaminade): The 6’7” sophomore has already emerged as one of the nation’s top players. Robin Thompson (MICDS): Athletic 6’6” combo forward who has signed with Missouri State. Jeremiah Tillman (East St. Louis): Talented 6’9” freshman who will be one to

McCluer North wins Borgia Tournament The McCluer North Stars won the Blue Division Championship of the St. Francis Borgia Thanksgiving Tournament last weekend in Washington, Mo. McCluer North defeated Cardinal Ritter 72-70 in overtime to win the title.mThe team members are (in alphabetical order): Harry Ballard, Jordan Boone, Caleb Clemons, Brandon Dunlap, Dominick Erby, Dorian Holland, Jerimiah Jackson, Rashad Lindsey, Zeke Moore, DeMonte Morris, B.J. Myles, Demarco Owens, Elijah Patterson, Garion Washington. McCluer North is coached by Trevor Laney.

watch for the future.

South

Patrick Triplett (Bayless): Strong 6’3” senior guard who has signed with Brown.

Class 3: Cardinal Ritter, Madison Prep, Whitfield, Maplewood, Lutheran North, Lutheran (St. Charles), North

Preston Whitfield (Fort Zumwalt South): Talented 6’1” junior guard who averaged 20 points last season. Teams to Watch Missouri Class 5: Chaminade, McCluer North, CBC, Webster Groves, Ladue, Kirkwood, Fort Zumwalt North, Fort Zumwalt South, Hazelwood Central, SLUH, Lafayette Class 4: Normandy, Duchesne, St. Charles, Bayless, Jennings, Gateway STEM, Borgia, Miller Career Academy, Festus, Pacific, Soldan, MICDS, Lutheran

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN

Prep Athletes of the Week

Rashad Lindsey

McCluer North – Boys Basketball The 5’11” senior guard was the Most Valuable Player of the St. Francis Borgia Thanksgiving Tournament last week. Lindsey averaged 25 points a game in leading the Stars to the Blue Division Championship. He scored 24 points in the Stars’ 72-70 victory over Cardinal Ritter in the championship game, including the game-winning four-point play with 20 seconds left in the overtime period. Lindsey also scored 24 points in the Stars’ first round victory over Rockwood Summit and 26 points in North’s victory over Carnahan in the semifinals. As a junior, Lindsey averaged 21 points a game to lead the Stars to a berth in the Missouri Class 5 state quarterfinals. He was an AllState selection as a junior.

Armon Fletcher

Edwardsville – Boys Basketball The 6’5” senior forward enjoyed an excellent week in leading the Tigers to the championship of the Waterloo Tournament. In four games, Fletcher averaged 21 points, 14 rebounds and 4.2 steals. His best performance came against Gateway STEM where he had 30 points and 17 rebounds in the Tigers’ 82-69 victory. Fletcher also had 22 points and 15 rebounds in a 67-37 victory over Mater Dei and 19 points, 16 rebounds and four steals in a 60-36 victory over Highland. As a junior, Fletcher averaged 10 points in helping the Tigers to a third-place finish in the IHSA Class 4A state tournament. He signed with Southern Illinois.

Tech, Carnahan, Northwest Academy, Lift for Life Illinois Edwardsville, Cahokia,

Alton, East St. Louis, Belleville East, Althoff, Carlyle, Nashville, Breese Central, Madison


 "These aren't ordinary rookies." – Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, on star rookie teammates Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris.

Sports

INSIDE Rams finish creates great expectations ~ See ‘Claib’s Call’ page B4 ~ B3

JANUARY 3 – 9, 2013

NFL pioneer Robert Beeks dies at 85

PREP BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK With Earl Austin Jr.

Tourney thrills abound around area

St. Louisan officiated in five Super Bowls By Earl Austin Jr. Of the St. Louis American

East St. Louis is surprise winner of Collinsville tournament We had a tremendous week of holiday tournament action around the St. Louis metro area. Here is a recap of last week’s tournament action. Normandy: Madison Prep dominated the field in winning the championship and improving its record to 120. The Bears defeated Germantown (TN) 77-53 in the finals behind 25 points from 6’4” senior Miles Nettles and 19 points from senior guard Kevin Baker. It is the Bears’ second tournament title of the season.

 Hazelwood Central has won two of the past three Meramec titles.

Meramec: Hazelwod Central won the championship with a 5945 victory over top-seeded CBC. Senior forward Jordan Martin had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Hawks, who have won two of the past three Meramec titles. Collinsville: East St. Louis entered the tournament with a 4-6 record, but the Flyers won four games and came away with the championship. The highlight came in the semifinals when the Flyers defeated top-seeded Belleville East 41-40 on a jumper by senior Travon McCray as time expired. The Flyers defeated Quincy 60-52 in the See PREP, B5

Photo by Wiley Price

Germantown's Darrell Spencer (24) and Jake Miller (11) attempt to block a shot by College Preparatory High’s Eric Clark during the 79th Annual Normandy Holiday Invitational Tournament Saturday evening. The Red Devils of Germantown went on to defeat the Bears 73-53.

St. Louisan Bob Beeks, who enjoyed a 22year career as a National Football League official, died on December 26 at the age of 85. Beeks was one of the first AfricanAmericans to officiate professional football games. Burl Toler was the first in 1965 while Beeks joined the pro ranks in 1968. The first NFL game that Beeks worked came in a 1968 game at Busch Stadium between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh St. Louisan Bob Beeks, Steelers. who enjoyed a 22-year During career as a National his 22-year Football League official, career, Beeks died on December 26 at worked a the age of 85. total of five Super Bowls as a line judge. He worked Super Bowls XIV, XVI, XVII, XXI and XXII. A graduate of Vashon High, Beeks was a star athlete for the Wolverines in basketball and football. Along with brother Earl Beeks, the Wolverines had one of the most dominant front lines in the city. He went on to attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Beeks was also a former Sergeant for the St. Louis Police Department. Visitation for Bob Beeks will be at Washington Metropolitan AME Zion Church on Friday, Jan.4 from 4-7 p.m. Funeral services will be on Saturday at noon.

IN THE CLUTCH With Ishmael H. Sistrunk

No love for Johnson Megatron should be in the mix for MVP Before the 2012 NFL season, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson boldly proclaimed he was not only targeting Jerry Rice’s (then) record of 1,848 receiving yards but was aiming for the hallowed and untapped 2000 yard mark. At the time, many fans and pundits shook their heads and wrote the comments off as preseason swag. Others wondered if he’d bumped his head in training camp and needed a baseline concussion test or two. He was the Madden cover boy after all, so he would surely break a kneecap or something by Week 3, right? Well, the Madden curse must be retired like the big,

beloved broadcaster because the only thing it cursed in Megatron’s season was the acclaim he received after one of the greatest seasons by a posiIshmael H. tion player in Sistrunk history. Going into Week 16, all the TV and media coverage was focused on Adrian Peterson and his quest to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. It made sense, considering Johnson had already taken down Jerry

 People were so busy calling Peterson the greatest person who ever lived that they shunned the guy who actually broke a record for one who got painfully close.

Rice’s receiving record – once thought to be unbreakable. Reaching 2K would’ve just been icing on the cake after all. But what bothered me about Johnson’s historic mark is the See CLUTCH, B5

Detroit’s Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record.

Page designed by Mike Terhaar


B4

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • JANUARY 3 – 9, 2013

CLAIB’S CALL With Mike Claiborne

Rams finish creates great expectations Now that the helmets and Black Monday jerseys have been put away for the Rams in 2013, have you That is what they call the ever been more excited about day after the season when they the next edition? Not since the fire coaches in the NFL. There Rams won the Super Bowl is one twist to this year. They have the emotions been as high are starting to fire General after a season ended. An endManagers as well. ing that saw the Rams Not a bad idea when lose in Seattle, but you have a GM that has anyone with the a hired more than one brain the size of a gnat coach who has not procan see this team has duced to the expectamade significant tions you had hoped for. improvement and is If you are a coach or ready for the next step. GM who was there I have been asked when new ownership on more than one takes over, the term occasion recently what “borrowed time” is one I Mike does this team need would familiarize myself for next year? Who are Claiborne with if I were them. they going to draft? It The NFL is the most is simple, they need more demanding league in the world offensive line help, linebackers when it comes to success. and certainly a free safety. Only a storied program in colMind you, this year the lege football may be as chalRams will not draft as early as lenging. Former NFL coach their previous putrid records Jerry Glanville once defined have a allowed them the NFL as standing to, so this time some  The years for “Not For Long” real thought will of waiting and if you don’t win come into play in and win early. He learning on selecting the best may not have been the sidelines player who can get right about coachon the field as soon ing decisions, but are over. as possible. The he was dead on years of waiting and about this. learning on the sideNo sport comes lines are over. When you are close to how the media can taken early in the rounds you float a trial balloon about a are expected to contribute. coach and now GM and have I guess this would be conan owner react. In most cases sidered the most critical draft they are deserving, but when for the future of this organizathe injury bug bites or young tion, as the Rams will have players are slow to develop, extra picks that they can use to then it is a matter of time. Did deal for players or other picks I mention a bad quarterback or just draft the player they that is supported by a sub-stanthink will help. In any event, dard offensive line? Yes, that there is a lot of work to do will get you unemployed even between now and April and the quicker. Rams have started to build If there was ever an indusmomentum. try where a person deserves every nickel they get, it is

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) pushes past St. Louis Rams' Eugene Sims for a 15-yard run during second-half action Sunday in Seattle. The Seahawks went on to win 20-13. being a head coach in the NFL. The stress is greater than you can imagine, and the lives

and families that are involved when it comes to staff is staggering. No thank you. There has to be a better and happier way to make a living. Awards? Really? Yes! I have never been a big fan of how awards are selected in sports as it is either subjective, number-driven, a function of popularity or pure laziness. With that said I will give you my picks. NFC Rookie of the Year ... Robert Griffin III. He was drafted to save a floundering iconic organization. On and off the field he showed leadership

and class well beyond his age. Griffin helped his team get into the playoffs. I did say HELPED as the Redskins had a terrific running game that saw the team rushing record broken. Throw in a very good defense and RGIII had a lot of things moving in his direction. AFC Rookie of the Year ... Andrew Luck. Luck walked into a situation where he was asked to replace a legend. No problem. Luck had to deal with a first-year head coach who was taken ill for most of the season, and now the team was going to be coached by the offensive coordinator whom Luck had no prior expe-

rience with. No problem. While he was at it, Luck showed great poise in helping the Colts get into the playoffs. Any guy that could resurrect the career of former Ram Donnie Avery should be considered for something. NFL MVP ... No brainer. Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning. The easy way out? Ask either one of them how easy was it to come back from a career-threatening injury? What these two have shown is incredible for any sport or profession. Yes, they play for teams that made the playoffs and they were a big part of it. They helped a lot of other players be better on both sides of the ball. Class players who are deserving. As for Comeback Player of the Year, mark them down for that award too. Anyone who reads this column will know that I am not a big fan of today’s product that is called the NFL. I also understand that it is not the fault of the players who now play. These players do the best they can by the rules prescribed and they should be recognized for that effort. To compare its era to others past would not be fair, as this era would have a tough time living up to other greats. Having said that, the league as we know it gave many of its fans their monies worth. As for the teams that did not, I will remind you that Black Monday has now come and gone and the work is already underway to make sure it will not happen in the foreseeable future.


B5

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • JANUARY 3 – 9, 2013

Local Football Team headed to National Championships The newly formed Team St. Louis 8th Grade All-Stars recently advanced to the Final Four of the Football University (FBU) National Championship Tournament, which is a football equivalent to the Little League World Series. The tournament began on December 1 with a 64 team national field that was structured similar to the NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament, with Regional Finals held in Reno, Kansas City, Atlanta and Mansfield, OH. The Final Four will be held at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio in early January, with events tied closely to the US Army All-American Bowl, the nation’s premier, nationally televised High School All-Star Football Game and Combine scheduled for Saturday, January 5. The FBU 8th grade National Championship Game

will take place on Sunday, January 6 at 4:30pm CST at the Alamo Dome, with the Semifinals taking place on Friday evening, January 4. Team St. Louis won the Great Plains Regional Championship and will face Colorado, the West Regional Champions, in the Semifinals. The other Semifinal Game will have the Southeast Regional Champion team from Northern Georgia facing the Northeast Regional Champions from Massachusetts. The two winning teams will square off for the National Championship in the Alamo Dome on January 6th. Updated tournament brackets can be found at http://www.footballuniversity.o rg/556. Team St. Louis is coached by Co-Head Coaches: Rick Wilson from the North County Cowboys and Tim Teicher from the Chesterfield Football

Association (CFA) Bears. Both teams as part of the 34 man men are the President of their roster of the Team St. Louis respective organizations and 8th Grade All-Stars. The team Head Coach was officially of a local 8th formed over  The newly formed grade team. the Rick Wilson’s Team St. Louis 8th Thanksgiving Cowboys weekend and Grade All-Stars Team won the recently advanced to held their first Gateway practice that the Final Four of the Football following Football University League Super Monday. Bowl this After only (FBU) National year, while 4 practices, Championship Tim Teicher’s the St. Louis Tournament, which is a All-Stars went Bears defeatfootball equivalent to ed the to Wichita, Cowboys to the Little League World Kansas for 2 win the GFL games on Series. Super Bowl December 1in 2011. Now 2, and were these recent able to rivals have advance with merged together along with wins in the first round over their Assistant Coaches to form Kansas City, KS (29-21) and the Coaching Staff of this in the second round over team, with many players from Kansas City, MO (40-22). their Super Bowl Champion These two wins advanced them

CLUTCH Continued from B3 way it was largely ignored by nearly everyone. People were so busy calling Peterson the greatest person who ever lived that they shunned the guy who actually broke a record for one who got painfully close. No shade towards AP. He deserved all the fanfare he earned in racking up a monster season just months after ACL/MCL surgery. But Johnson’s season was better. Period. Sportswriters are quick to write off Johnson’s eye-popping stats by suggesting that today’s NFL is different from when Rice set the record. They claim that every team is chucking the ball around the field with no conscience. They say teams don’t run the football anymore. It’s a passing league. There is certainly some truth in those statements, but Johnson’s lack of acclaim is largely due to revisionists’ history. If you go back and look at the 1995 season when Rice

PREP Continued from B3 championship game. Seniors Deshawn Munson and Johnny McCray enjoyed excellent tournaments in leading East St. Louis.

Detroit Lions’ Calvin Johnson set the high-water mark, there were three other receivers who surpassed 1,600 yards: Isaac Bruce (1,781), Herman Moore (1,686) and Michael Irvin (1,603). How many receivers not named Megatron broke the 1,600 barrier this season? Zilch. For the record, I do think today’s pass interference rules

are a joke and help inflate passing and receiving numbers a bit. But let’s take a gander at the record-breakers versus their contemporaries. Rice, widely considered the greatest NFL player ever, beat out Bruce by a mere 67 yards back in ‘95. Johnson crushed his closest competitor, Andre Johnson (1598), by a whopping 366 yards. That means

season.

in the finals.

MICDS: Duchesne knocked off SLUH 66-44 to win the championship for the first time. Junior forward Ryan Tune led the Pioneers with 26 points while junior guard Sam Briscoe added 17 points.

Summit: Parkway North defeated Ursuline 60-55 to win the championship in a battle of two of the area’s top teams. Freshman guard Alesia Sutton scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Vikings. Parkway North is now 8-1.

In girls action:

Centralia: Cahokia repeated as tournament champions with a 68-58 victory over Jacksonville. The Comanches have won the Centralia Tournament three times in the past four years. Senior guard Keenan Minor and senior forward Vincent Jackson scored 19 points each to lead Cahokia.

Visitation: Incarnate Word Academy defeated St. Joseph’s 49-34 in a championship showdown which featured two undefeated state powers. Sophomore Napheesa Collier scored 16 points to lead the Red Knights while junior point guard Nakiah Bell added 12 points.

Chaminade: John Burroughs won the championship for the second year in succession. The Bombers defeated Pattonville 50-46 in overtime in the finals. John Burroughs is now 10-0 on the

Edwardsville: The host Tigers dominated everyone in winning its own tournament. Edwardsville defeated Chatham-Glenwood 71-30 in the championship game. The Tigers had balanced scoring as junior Kortney Dunbar led the way with 16 points, followed by senior Emmonnie Henderson and Aaliyah Covington with 13 points.

MICDS: The host Rams won the title with a 54-43 victory over No. 1 seed Westminster Academy. Junior guard Emily Kyman scored 18 points while sophomore guard Maya Howard added 10 points

(You can followEarl’s daily basketball reports on his website, www.earlaustinjr.com. You can also follow him on twitter.com/earlaustinjr).

Megatron could’ve took a megabreak and still finished first this season. But when you hear the chatter about MVP, you hear Peterson, Brady and Manning. There’s not a whisper about Johnson. Maybe it’s because his team grossly underachieved at 4-12. Maybe it’s because he posted a shockingly low 5 TDs after amassing 16 just a year ago. But with a below-average running attack and routine red zone triple teams, it was hard for Johnson to get more scores. I’m not arguing that Johnson is better than Rice. I’m not even saying he should be a lock for the MVP. I’m just wondering why the man is getting no love, despite terrorizing defensive backfields the same way AP terrorized defensive lineman and linebackers. When the awards snubs come, expect Johnson to be even more motivated and I have no doubt that next season the 2K walls will come tumbling down. Hopefully, a flood of respect will come with them.

to The Sweet 16 and the Regional Great Plains Championship Round in Kansas City the following weekend. In Kansas City, St. Louis beat Southeast Louisiana 27-0, and then wrapped up the Great Plans Regional Championship and a spot in the Final Four with a convincing 31-0 win over the Texas All-Star Champions from San Antonio. The Elite Football Academy (EFA - www.elitefootball.net) is a major sponsor of the team, with Matt Biermann and Dave Cooke from EFA serving as the local FBU Tournament Representatives who were responsible for assembling the team along with the head coaches. While many players on the roster came from the Co-Head Coach’s past two Gateway Football League Championship teams, there are

actually 12 different teams from the St. Louis metropolitan area being represented on this 34 man roster of 13-14 year old Middle School students. They come from as far away as Phelps County and include players from the 2012 Junior Football League (JFL) 8th grade Champion U-City Soldiers, the Chaminade Red Devils, the Herbert Hoover Wreckin’ Crew, the Hazelwood North Panthers, the Seckman Jaguars, the St. James Tigers, and the Ritenour Huskies. The St. Louis Rams honored the Team St. Louis 8th Grade All-Stars on Sunday during halftime of the Rams versus Vikings game at the Edward Jones Dome, with the team taking part in a fun scrimmage game against Rampage and other local team mascots as part of the celebration of Rampage’s 3rd birthday.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN

Prep Athletes of the Week

Malcolm Hill Belleville East – Boys Basketball The 6’7” senior guard was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the Collinsville Tournament last week. Hill averaged 27 points a game in leading the Lancers to a 3-1 record and a thirdplace finish in the tournament. In the game prior to the tournament, Hill scored 39 points in a victory over Alton. He opened up the tournament with a 33-point performance against Riverview Gardens and 34 points against Decatur McArthur in Lancer victories. For the season, Hill is averaging 24.2 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks a game in leading Belleville East to a 12-1 record. Hill has already signed with the University of Illinois.


Sports

 “That is just tasteless and tactless. I was extremely heated at that.” – Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, after the home crowd cheered quarterback Matt Schaub’s injury in last week’s game against the Rams

INSIDE James Franklin and the haters ~ See ‘Claib’s Call’ page B6 ~ B5

OCTOBER 17 – 23, 2013

PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

FROM THE EAST SIDE

With Earl Austin Jr.

With Maurice Scott

Saturday showdown in ESL A loss might mean no playoffs for the Flyers

Groves. Kirkwood graduated 27 seniors from last year’s Class 5 state championship team, but the Pioneers have reloaded quite well to race to its undefeated season. Quarterback Will Hadler is enjoying an excellent year and the Pioneers feature a stable of talented receivers and running backs. Parkway Central finished 11-2 a season ago with both of those loses coming to Kirkwood. The Pioneers defeated Parkway Central in the state semifinals en route to winning the state title.

The East St. Louis Flyers and the Belleville West Maroons both have a lot on the line for Saturday’s Southwestern Conference showdown at Clyde C. Jordan Stadium. It is a 1 p.m. kick-off for the Homecoming queen and her court. Both the Flyers and Maroons fans have had this date circled for some time now. Belleville West is currently 6-1 while the Flyers are 4-3 and riding a three-game winning streak. A win by the Maroons will assure them of a better seed when the IHSA playoff pairings are announced in two weeks. However, a loss by the Flyers will put them in danger of not making the playoffs. I say that because the Flyers have played a schedule where Maurice 5-4 MIGHT get them in. Plus, Scott they have to beat Collinsville in their final game. A victory by East Side will keep coach Darren Sunkett’s “one game at a time” approach intact and make his team one of the most dangerous units when the Class 6A state pairings come out next week. Also on the line are bragging rights between the two cities, and the bell. It  A lot of the is a tradition that black players’ goes back over 50 parents for years, and there is plenty of talking Belleville West from Belleville West will have no that their proproblem finding fans gram is now better their way to than East Side’s. Jordan Really?! The Maroons do Stadium in have plenty of playESL. ers familiar with the City of Champions athletic tradition in East St. Louis. In fact, a lot of the black players’ parents for Belleville West will have no problem finding their way to Jordan Stadium. Some might be within walking distance. The Maroons come into this Southwestern Conference showdown with only one loss – to league champion Edwardsville Tigers, 4514, on the Maroons’ Homecoming night.

See PREP, B7

See EAST SIDE, B7

Photo by Wiley Price

The Northwest Academy Hornets’ Jose Jackson (2) sprints past Vashon defenders Isiah Nelson (87), Tryountay Harrington (30) and Ian Hines (26) during their 30-24 victory over the Vashon Wolverines.

Undefeated, two to go Eight area teams are yet to lose a football game

Earl Austin Jr.

With two weeks left in the regular season, there are still eight teams in the St. Louis metro area with undefeated records. On the Missouri side, there are Hazelwood Central (70), Brentwood (7-0), ChristianO’Fallon (7-0), Kirkwood (6-0) and John Burroughs (6-0). On the Illinois side, you have Edwardsville, Highland and Columbia, who are all 7-0.

 Parkway Central (6-1) will visit Kirkwood (6-0) in a battle of two of the area’s top teams.

Big games on tap Parkway Central (6-1) will visit Kirkwood (6-0) in a battle of two of the area’s top teams. Both teams are also in a battle for the Suburban South Conference title along with Webster

IN THE CLUTCH With Ishmael H. Sistrunk

America’s next great heavyweight? Kevin Cunningham has his next championship contender from STL in Stephan Shaw “Come on Steph! Let’s go! Keep going. Keep pushing.” Those are the words of boxing trainer extraordinaire Kevin Cunningham, the man who helped guide Cory Spinks and Devon Alexander from Ishmael H. the streets of St. Sistrunk Louis to the pugilistic Promised Land as world champion boxers. However, today those

words aren’t directed at the fighters whose names he helped make synonymous with 21st century St. Louis boxing, nor are they intended for Sakio Bika, the former Contender turned champion under Cunningham’s tutelage. Today, Cunningham is training his newest prize pupil, Stephan Shaw. Why should you care about Shaw? It’s simple. The towering 6-foot-5, 250-pound fighting phenom is out to prove that the road to the next great American heavyweight goes down I-70 to the STL. Shaw recently capped off a

stellar amateur boxing career in spectacular style after winning the 2013 PAL National Championship in Oxnard, Calif. by first-round KO. It was the second national title of the year for the Hazelwood Central graduate. He also won the USA National Championship by KO in April. Watching Shaw in action, it’s easy to see why the 21year-old has been so successful in his amateur career. He possesses a rare blend of size, strength and agility inside the ring. It’s evident that boxing

The towering 6-foot-5, 250-pound St. Louis heavyweight Stephan Shaw recently capped off a stellar amateur boxing career in spectacular style after winning both the 2013 PAL and USA National Championship s. Previously trained by his grandfather Buddy Shaw, he now has Kevin Cunningham in his corner.

See CLUTCH, B6 Photo by Maurice Meredith Page designed by Mike Terhaar


B6

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • OCTOBER 17 – 23, 2013

CLAIB’S CALL With Mike Claiborne

James Franklin and the haters The biggest win for Mizzou in at least 30 years took place when the Tigers went to Georgia and beat the Bulldogs. The bigger story, for now, is the health of quarterback James Franklin, who injured his shoulder and will be out a few weeks. That’s unfortunate news to those who know him and the work he puts in. Others revel in his misfortune, as the Matty Mauk era appears to be around the corner. Mauk is the so-called savior of the program in the eyes of some. The funny thing is that most who project him as that can’t-miss player have never seen him take a snap. Mike I have never Claiborne been able to embrace the mindset of those who get caught in the hype of high school athletes who are supposed to be the Messiah of a program – in most cases, sight unseen – because they do not like the incumbent. In Franklin’s case, he has been accused of  The not being funny thing able to play is that most hurt. His who project laidback collectMatty Mauk and ed style led as that some to can’t-miss infer that he player have either was not trying never seen hard or was him take a not smart snap. enough to understand the system. Those claims, I might add, are pure insanity, but this is the world we live in. OK, haters. You now have your man at the helm. Let’s see how many excuses you can come up with if it does not go well. Mind you, this is not about Franklin versus Mauk. It is about common sense versus personal agendas. I hope common sense wins out. Concussions on the ‘Frontline’ Are more injuries in the NFL this season happening to really good players? Each week the injury report seems to include more players whose

An injury to Mizzou quarterback James Franklin is cause for celebration to those who think the Matty Mauk era appears to be around the corner. names we recognize. You have to wonder how many players go through the season without missing a game or finding their name on the weekly injury list. The league will tell you that’s the norm or that a study is underway. I would not believe this league when it comes to the welfare of its players. Don’t believe me? Watch the recent edition of Frontline on PBS and see the story about what the NFL knew about concussions and when they knew it. The NFL should be ashamed of how they have misled players, media and fans when it comes to concussions. They are flat-out liars when it comes to this subject. The Players Association also has let

its players down far beyond what you see on the surface. According to the Frontline story, experts have determined that any youth that plays football under the age of 14 is at a much greater risk of serious repercussions from concussions. This program is a mustwatch for every parent who thinks they have the next Heisman Trophy winner. You say it could not happen to your kid? Perhaps you should talk to parents who thought the same thing before their lives changed. Buyer beware I have always wondered

CLUTCH Continued from B5 isn’t just a hobby for Shaw, it’s in his DNA. For years he was trained by his grandfather Buddy Shaw, one of the top trainers of amateurs in Missouri. “Boxing is the first sport I was introduced to,” Stephan Shaw said. “It’s a family tradition.” The elder Shaw’s influence is evident in the way his grandson works behind his jab to set up his concussive overhand rights and vicious left

why parents send their kids to private school to play sports only to find politics come into play. Some parents will tell you that it is the best thing for little Johnny and his education. That’s a reasonable and acceptable explanation. What about when he does not play because he scores poorly on the SAT or ACT? What happens when, instead of moving onto Notre Dame or some other so-called prestigious institution, they have to settle for a lesser school, or perhaps a junior college, when it comes to academics? I am not an advocate for either public or private education. It’s about being there for the right reason. Education is

the most important thing that comes with the opportunity to play a sport. When parents choose a school for its sports program and think the rest will take care of itself, that is where the problem lies. Reality may someday set in that the kid is not that good on the field, but may be better in a classroom.

event. There are some who say this is what the game is all about. OK, I get it but how about a little more offense? Would I would love to see a few more games that feature a few more runs and hits? Yes, but not at the cost of tricking out the game. There are enough tricks in sports as it is.

I am a fan of baseball’s post-season when the Cardinals are in it. Other than that, it can be hard to watch as the pitching just dwarfs the offense on most nights. It can prove to be a rather slow

Seldom do you see a sports weekend like we saw in St. Louis last weekend, and yet not one game won any sort of championship. It was a great weekend that we may not see again. If we do, how about a trophy or two?

hooks to the body. His use of effective lateral movement is uncommon amongst the big, plodding heavyweights often seen today. “What impresses me most is that Stephan is a big, strong heavyweight but has the athleticism and skill level of a welterweight,” Cunningham told The American.“ Under Cunningham’s watchful eye and intense training regimen, Shaw feels he’s ready to take his career to the next level and continue his ascension as a professional. He recently signed a managerial contract with Al Haymon. Haymon’s influence is

immense, as the behind-thescenes businessman also manages the careers of stars such as Alexander, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner and Marcos Maidana. When asked about his favorite fighter, the answer comes without hesitation – Mayweather, one of the hardest-working fighters today. Shaw hopes to emulate Mayweather’s success both inside and outside the ring and is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make it happen. So he trains relentlessly six days per week in order to get stronger, faster and sharper. He is preparing for his professional debut Nov. 30 on the undercard of Alexander’s upcoming fight versus Shawn Porter in San Antonio. Shaw’s ultimate goal is to earn championship status like Mayweather and his other managerial stablemates. “My goal is to be world champion, in God’s will, and that takes staying focused and staying disciplined” said Shaw. “My father [Brian Shaw] showed me that hard work and dedication will bring you success.” While the young fighter is undoubtedly attracted to the money, fame and acclaim that come with championship success, those things are far from his motivation during those early morning runs, grueling heavy bag sessions or bruising blows inside the ring. That lays solely in the tiny hands of the smallest person inside his inner circle – his eight-month-old

son. “Before my son, [boxing] was a self-pleasure thing. Now that he’s in my life, I have to give it 110 percent because his future is in my hands. He motivates me every single day,” Shaw said. According to Cunningham, over the next 18 months, it’s very likely the Ukrainian-born Klitschko brothers, who have dominated the heavyweight division for the past decade, will both head towards retirement. That means there will an open opportunity in what was once boxing’s glamour division but has languished worldwide without a viable, exciting heavyweight contender. Both Cunningham and Shaw believe the young fighter can eventually fill that void. “With his skillset and my teaching, I see this kid going all the way,” Cunningham said. Shaw appears to have the right mindset to make his trainer’s vision come true. While other young adults his age are hitting the clubs, he has managed to sidestep the temptations of smoking and drinking. Instead, he studies boxing history, watches every fight he can and meticulously hones his craft. “Outside the ring, I’m a student. Inside the ring, I’m the teacher,” said Shaw, showing just a hint of Mayweatheresque swagger. “I’m ready to revamp the American heavyweight division. I believe I have the skills to beat anybody – in due time.” Follow Ishmael and In the Clutch on Twitter

Trophy, please? Post-season slowdown


B7

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN • OCTOBER 17 – 23, 2013

EAST SIDE

Renell Wren selected to Team USA

Continued from B5

Lutheran North football standout Renell Wren was recently selected to play for the USA Under-19 National Team. Team USA will play against Team Canada in the 2014 International Bowl on Feb. 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Wren received his Team USA jersey in a pre-game ceremony from St. Louis Rams offensive tackles Roger Saffold. Wren was joined on the field by his parents, Alex and Renee, his sister Alliyah, the St. Louis Rams cheerleaders and a representative from Team USA Football. The 6’5” Wren is one of the area’s top defensive ends.

Belleville West would no doubt enjoy ruining the Flyers’ festivities on Saturday in the “House Of Pain.” The Maroons are coming off an impressive bounce-back game after the Edwardsville loss, having thumped the Collinsville Kahoks last Friday, 41-20. Antione Davis and reserve quarterback Brian Hill combined for six touchdowns in the win. Hill replaced injured Belleville West starting stand-out quarterback Sherand Boyd, who suffered a knee injury in the Edwardsville game. Meanwhile, the East St. Louis Flyers (4-3 overall, 3-2 in SWC play) have won three in a row and have chance to get a signature win against one of the state’s top Class 7A teams. They are led by a stingy defense and freshman wide out Jeff Thomas, Kyron Watson, Dominic Nelson and Greg Taylor on offense. This team has the talent to run the table all the way to Champaign, IL Thanksgiving weekend for the IHSA state championship. Darren Sunkett’s Flyers should shut up the people and fans who jumped off the team’s bandwagon after consecutive losses to 5-A power Lombard Montini, Edwardsville and O’Fallon a month ago. I have witnessed some of the fans who were not supporting the team during the losing streak. You know who you are and the stripes and colors you wear.

PREP Continued from B5 St. Charles County will be the site of another big showdown when Francis Howell Central (5-2) visits Francis Howell (6-1) for the Gateway Athletic Conference South Division title. Howell is enjoying another dominant year after last year’s first ever Show-Me Bowl appearance. The Vikings have been rolling over the competition with their only loss coming to Ohio-state powerhouse Cincinnati Elder. Howell Central has emerged as a strong team this season. The Spartans scored a big 56-31 victory over Fort Zumwalt West last Friday to set up the showdown. Senior tailback Kendall Morris has rushed for 1,376 yards and 18 touchdowns for Howell Central.

There are also some very interesting non-conference games on the schedule this weekend. Class 6 power CBC (6-1) will head to Mid-Missouri to face Class 4 power Jefferson City Helias (5-2) on Saturday afternoon. The Cadets are coming off a thrilling 14-11 victory over rival DeSmet to win the Metro Catholic Conference championship. Helias fields a strong unit that played for the Class 4 state championship last season. Two weeks, the Crusaders defeated a strong Class 6 team from Columbia Rock Bridge 59-21. St. Charles West will visit Festus on Friday night in a battle of 6-1 teams in Jefferson County. Another non-conference game involving two 6-1 teams will be on Saturday when Fort Zumwalt North visits Ladue.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN

Prep Athletes of the Week

Eric McWoods Kirkwood – Boys Soccer The senior standout scored five goals to lead the Pioneers to two victories last week. McWoods scored three goals in the Pioneers’ 4-0 victory over Pattonville. He followed up with two more goals as Kirkwood edged Lindbergh 2-1. McWoods is currently among the area’s top scorers with 28 goals. He also has two assists and has been credited with seven game-winning goals. McWoods has scored 75 goals in his four-year career. During the summer, McWoods was a star player for the Lou Fusz Geerling U17 team that won the National Cup XII title in Colorado. He has committed to Xavier University.

Isaiah Holman Lutheran North – Football The 5’9” senior receiver enjoyed another big performance in leading the Crusaders to a 49-7 victory over Principia last Saturday. Holman had five receptions for 102 yards and four touchdowns. He scored on pass plays for 15, 22, 39 and 15 yards from quarterback Justin Baker. Holman also rushed for 125 yards on just eight carries. For the season, Holman has 44 receptions for 764 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 339 yards on 52 carries and three touchdowns, giving him a total of 14 for the season. The Crusaders are riding a three-game winning streak. Lutheran North will visit Trinity on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Three of last four The Cahokia Comanches started the season off at 0-3, but they have been playing some good football in the last month. Cahokia has won three of their last four games to grab a share of first place in the South Seven Conference. Cahokia defeated Mount Vernon last weekend 45-32 in a high-scoring affair. Keenan Hogan rushed for 235 yards on 14 carries and four touch-

downs. Keveion Adams rushed for 113 yards and added two scores on an 80 yard run and an 80-yard kickoff return. The Comanches will host South Seven rival Belleville Althoff on Friday night. 848 yards Cleveland Naval Jr. ROTC has struggled through a 0-7 season, but the Commanders have a bright spot in senior Michael Wells, who has rushed

for 848 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wells is one of the fastest kids in the state of Missouri. He was a four-time state champion at last year’s Class 2A track and field championships in Jefferson City. As a sophomore, Wells led Cleveland to the Class 2 state championship. (You can catch Earl Austin Jr. talking high school football every Friday night on the Fox 2 Prep Zone at 10:20 p.m.)


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